Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday said his administration’s strict observance of the rule of law prevented him from sacking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) local government chairmen inherited from the government of his predecessor, Ayo Fayose.
He said his administration, therefore, had to allow the PDP local government council chairmen to complete their tenure, inspite of the allegations against some of them after their probe by the House of Assembly.
The governor spoke while inaugurating newly elected chairmen and vice chairmen of the 16 local government councils.
According to him, his decision to allow the outgone council bosses elected during the Fayose-led government to complete their tenure, is predicated on the fact that his administration is “resolutely committed to upholding and respecting rule of law at all times,” hence the decision not to scuttle local government administration or interfere with their funds.
“The inauguration of these chairmen and vice chairmen, today, follows the tenure expiration of the council elected officials we inherited from the last administration. Despite the barrage of allegations and actions against some of the local government elected officials after their probe by the Ekiti State House of Assembly, as a government, we adhered strictly to the sanctity of their tenure. They were allowed to run their full course before the election that produced the new set of chairmen, vice chairmen and councilors for the sixteen local government areas of Ekiti State,” Fayemi said.
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The governor urged the elected chairmen and vice chairmen to always make themselves accessible to the people.
The new council helmsmen were elected during the December 7 local government election in the state and sworn in yesterday, a week after the expiration of the tenure of their predecessors, who were elected on the PDP platform.
Fayemi, who also told the new council bosses to place the welfare of Ekiti people above their personal interests, stated that as the people’s representatives in government, the local government chairmen must make “far-reaching impact on the lives of a lot of people.”
The governor urged them to key into the five-pillar agenda of his administration, which were aimed at eradicating poverty from the state and deliver the dividends of democracy to the grassroots.
He also advised them to familiarise themselves with the Local Government Administration Laws and Local Government Service Commission Laws of Ekiti State in order to guide them on the operational activities of the council.
He said: “As the government at the grassroots, you have to ensure that people-oriented programmes and projects are made your priorities.
Whilst you should key into the state priorities, I also expect you to develop your own with your budget estimates with the support of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development. In this regard, I enjoin you all to align with the state government policies and programmes as boldly and expressly enunciated in our 5-point agenda of governance, agriculture and rural development, social investments, knowledge economy and, infrastructure and industrial development.
“You were chosen by your people because they believe in you.
You are now their representatives in government and equally the ambassadors of the government in your respective constituencies and Local Government Areas. You are therefore enjoined to relate with your people and make yourselves accessible even more than before.”
Governor Fayemi, who reiterated the commitment of his government to rural development, said the inauguration of the new council chairmen was very auspicious as the state government was poised to execute many rural development projects as captured in the 2020 budget.
While urging them to be conscious of the prevailing financial situation in the country, the governor counselled the local government chairmen to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to augment their allocations.
Fayemi, who charged the two new commissioners on creativity and innovation, expressed optimism that they would make a huge impact in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism they had been assigned to oversee.
The two new Commissioners are Mr Ayoola Owolabi (Finance) and Prof. Razaq Ojo Bakare (Arts, Culture and Tourism).
While responding on behalf of the newly sworn in chairmen, Chairman of Ado Local Government, Hon Motunde Fajuyi, promised that the council bosses would key into the rural development programme of the government and make positive impact on the lives of the people.
Fajuyi said Dr Fayemi’s decision to allow local government election to hold was a demonstration that he was irrevocably committed to deepening democracy.
She said the administration’s decision to rehabilitate 1,000 rural roads across the 16 local government areas was a pointer to the fact the Fayemi administration was mindful of the challenges at the grassroots.